The Knicks had their seven-game win streak snapped by the Chicago Bulls in a 103-90 loss. Here’s a quick look at the game:
HOW THE GAME WAS WON: The Knicks actually went into halftime with a 55-52 lead, but the Bulls came storming out of halftime, going on a 26-2 run to take a 78-57 lead with 5:00 left in the third quarter. That was mostly thanks to Chicago’s defense, as it clamped down to hold the Knicks to 1 for 13 shooting to start the third and just 35 combined points in the second half. The Knicks did make a modest rally in the fourth quarter, as reserves Bill Walker and Toney Douglas helped pull the Knicks to within 89-82 after a Douglas layup with 9:30 left. But Chicago went on a 8-0 run and put the game out of reach.
WHAT IT MEANS: Not a heck of a lot in terms of playing positioning. The Knicks are locked into the sixth seed and have a date in the first round of the playoffs with the Boston Celtics. With that in mind, Mike D’Antoni elected to sit Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups for much of the fourth quarter.
However, it did mean a lot more in terms of the playoff rotation. There is a muddle of players competing for a few spots in the rotation. It seems safe to say that Shawne Williams and Douglas are locked into the rotation off the bench. Beyond that, Jared Jeffries, Ronny Turiaf, Shelden Williams, Bill Walker and Anthony Carter are probably competing for one or two spots. The only one of the group to not really play on Tuesday was Shelden Williams, who played four minutes.
ORANGE WATCH: Anthony led the Knicks with 21 points, but was abysmal from downtown, shooting just 1 for 6. He only scored six points after halftime while hitting just 2-of-9 shots from the field.
STAR GAZING: Bill Walker had 18 points while Douglas (13), Billups (10) and Shawne Williams (10) were all in double figures. Derrick Rose had 26 to lead the way for Chicago and Luol Deng chipped in 23 points and 10 rebounds.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Knicks close out the regular season against Boston on Wednesday, in a preview of the first round of the NBA playoffs. That being said, it’s highly unlikely that D’Antoni will play his stars for big minutes in the game. Look for more of an exhibition atmosphere as players continue to jockey for postseason playing time.